Archive | April, 2011

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Lost Weekend in Colorado – Wrigley Field 4/18/11

Posted on 18 April 2011 by Lou

It was a lost weekend for the Chicago Cubs against the Rockies at Coors Field in Denver Colorado.  The Rockies shut out the Cubs on Friday 5-0 and then after Casey Coleman’s great start and a 8-3 win on Saturday, the Cubs couldn’t get the win on Sunday to take the series from the NL’s best team.

On Saturday, Casey Coleman worked into the 6th inning holding one of the best hitting teams in baseball to just 1 ER on 4 hits and 3 walks.  He picked up his 1st win of 2011.

Coleman got plenty of help from his teammates to get the win.  Starlin Castro led the way with 4 hits including a home run and a double.  He drove in 3 and scored 1 run.  Darwin Barney had 2 hits an RBI and a run scored, while Carlos Pena had 2 hits and a run scored.  Alfonso Soriano also had a big day with 3 hits including a home run and 2 RBI’s.

On Sunday, however, Ryan Dempster dug his squad into an early hole by giving up 4 runs in the 1st inning.  He ended up giving up 5 ER on 7 hits and 2 walks and left with the game tied at 5.  Jeff Samardzija kept the game close with 2 scoreless innings of relief in his best outing of the season.  But it was Marcos Mateo who had a rare bad outing (he had made 5 consecutive scoreless appearances heading into the game) when allowed a 4-run 8th inning rally to the Rockies that gave the home team a win.  Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney kept up their hotting.  Castro had 3 more hits with an RBI and a run scored and is now hitting .418 on the season.  Barney had 2 hits and a run scored and is hitting .333.  The 1-2 combination of Castro and Barney at the top of lineup has given the Cubs offense a much-needed spark early in the season.  Let’s hope they can keep it up.

The Cubs fell to 7-8 on the season, but still only trail the 1st place Cincinnati Reds by 2 games in the NL Central.  Carlos Zambrano goes for his 3rd straight win of the season (and 12th win overall dating back to last season) as the Cubs square off against the San Diego Padres tonight at Wrigley Field.

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Garza Falls to 0-2 with 5-0 Loss to Rockies at Coors Field – Wrigley Field 4/16/11

Posted on 16 April 2011 by Lou

Matt Garza fell to 0-2 as the Cubs dropped the opener to the Rockies 5-0.  It’s crazy how one swing of the bat can change a game.  Chris Iannetta tripled with the bases loaded and one out in the 2nd inning and then scored on Satrlin Castro’s fielding error.  And just like that, the Rockies took a 4-0 lead and never looked back.  It was their 8th straight win.  Garza ended up giving up 5 ER on 7 hits and 2 walks with 5 K’s.  He now has a 1.71 season WHIP and a 6.27 season ERA – not what the Cubs expected when they traded 4 high level prospects for the big righty.

The Cubs offense was just as much to blame for the loss.  The Cubs managed just 6 hits against Jhoulys Chacin who tossed his 1st career complete game shutout.  Aramis Ramirez had 3 of the team’s hits, but the top 3 in the order – Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, Marlon Byrd – who had been so hot all season long went a combined 0 for 11.  Ouch.

Casey Coleman makes his 2nd start in place of Randy Wells tonight against the Rockies at Coors Field.

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Cubs Visit Denver to Take on Rockies at Coors Field – Wrigley Field 4/15/11

Posted on 15 April 2011 by Lou

The Cubs take on the Rockies at Coors Field tonight.  Matt Garza looks to pick up his 1st win of 2011 and his 1st win as a Cub.  So far, Garza has been less than consistent – he has a 5.68 ERA with a 1.82 WHIP.  He is 0-1.  The Cubs hope that Starlin Castro,  Darwin Barney and Marlon Byrd keep up their hot hitting against the Rockies.

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Carlos Zambrano Holds On for Win #2 as Bullpen Shines – Wrigley Field 4/14/11

Posted on 14 April 2011 by Lou

Carlos Zambrano pitched great for the game’s 1st 5 innings, but then ran out of gas in a 5-run 6th inning.  Big Z allowed 5 runs in the frame and was finally removed after he issued a 2-out walk to J.R. Towles.  Marcos Mateo came on to retire Jason Michaels which kept Zambrano in a position to win.  Big Z gave up 5 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks, but moved to 2-0 despite a 6.11 ERA.  Now Zambrano just needs to learn to put it together for a full 6-7 innings in his next few starts.

The bullpen was superb down the stretch.  After Mateo, Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol each tossed scoreless innings to preserve the win for the Cubs.  Marmol was the only one to allow and Astros hitter to reach base with a walk.  Not what you want from your closer, but Marmol shut the door on the rally in a non-save situation.

The Cubs raced out to a 5-0 lead on Jeff Baker’s 2-run double and Alfonso Soriano’s 3-run HR in the 1st inning.  Starlin Castro had 3 hits and a run scored.  Darwin Barney had 2 hits, an RBI and a run scored.  And Aramis Ramirez had 3 hits, an RBI and a run scored.  The 9 runs scored and 14 hits were season highs for the Cubs.  The Cubs hope to continue their winning ways as they travel northwest to take on the hottest team in baseball – the Colorado Rockies – at Coors Field in Denver…

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Myers, Astros Cruise Past Bewildered Cubs 7-1 – Wrigley Field 4/13/11

Posted on 13 April 2011 by Lou

Bret Myers was finally rewarded for another good start as the Astros raced out to an early 5-0 lead and never looked back.  Michael Bourn and Angel Sanchez each reached on bunt singles to start the game, making starter-turned reliever-turned starter James Russell look like he had never practiced fielding a bunt before.  Each player came around to score later that inning.  Bourn also had 2 stolen bases, while the top 3 Astros in the lineup – Bourn, Sanchez and Hunter Pence – went a combined 9 for 15, with 7 RBI’s and 7 runs scored.  Ouch.

Russell ended up lasting just 1 2/3 innings in his spot start for Andrew Cashner. He gave up 4 ER on 7 hits and given the outing, the Cubs should really try to figure out a way to use just 4 starters for as long as possible when they can with some off days coming up.  Jeff Samardzija wasn’t all that much better – 2 ER on 3 hits in 3 innings of work.  His season ERA is 7.50 and his season WHIP is 2.17.  Since Samardzija doesn’t have any options, he is going to either have to get better in a hurry or the Cubs may be forced to outright release him.  And John Grabow continued to pitch poorly as he recovers from a 2010 injury.  Grabow gave up 3 ER on 5 hits in the 8th inning and now has a 2.31 WHIP and 8.31 ERA.

The Cubs did manage to have 11 hits, but scored just 2 runs, one on a solo home run by Tyler Colvin.  Marlon Byrd is on fire after a slow start.  He had 3 more hits and has a .391 batting average.  Starlin Castro had 2 more hits and is hitting .367.  If only someone else in the lineup besides the first 3 batters would start hitting, maybe the Cubs could put together some sustained rallies.

Carlos Zambrano and Wandy Rodriguez square off in the rubber game of the series tonight in Houston…

 

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Cubs Hold on for 5-4 Win Over Astros in Houston – Wrigley Field 4/12/11

Posted on 12 April 2011 by Lou

The Cubs wins never seem to be pretty this year, but with this club, any win is a good win.  Ryan Dempster was dominant for 6 innings (1 ER on just 3 hits), but once he got over the 100-pitch count, he seemed to lose a little zip and control on his pitches.  The Astros rallied with an inside the park home run by Bill Hall and a 2-run home run by Angel Sanchez in the bottom of the 7th inning off of Dempster to cut the Cubs lead to 5-4.  John Grabow made it interesting by allowing the first two batters he faced to reach base with a walk and a hit with 1 out.  But Grabow was able to preserve the 1-run lead by inducing a flyout and groundout to end the threat.  It didn’t get any easier in the 8th as Sean Marshall allowed 2 runners with 2 outs, but Closer Carlos Marmol ended the threat by striking out Sanchez to end the inning.  And Marmol had some issues of his own in the 9th (a 2-out walk and single to put the go-ahead runs on base), but he was able to strike out Joe Inglett to pick up his 4th save of the season and get the Cubs back to .500 at 5-5.  It was Dempster’s first win of the season.

Starlin Castro was the Cubs hitting star.  As the leadoff hitter, Castro had 3 hits and scored 3 runs to pace the Cubs out to an early 5-0 lead.  Darwin Barney also looked good in the 2-hole, going 2 for 3 with 2 walks, 2 runs scored and an RBI.  Marlon Byrd had 2 hits and 2 RBI’s, while Alfonso Soriano came through with a clutch — yes I said the word clutch — 2-out, 2-run double in the 1st inning to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead.

James Russell gets his 1st start of the season replacing Andrew Cashner in the starting lineup.  Russell squares off against Bret Myers who has been almost unhittable in his 1st 2 games against the Reds and Phillies.  Myers has allowed just 3 ER and 9 hits in those 2 games, although he did not receive a decision in either start.  Let’s see if the Cubs can inch back over.500 with a win…

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Cubs Lose Weekend Series to Brewers in Miller Park, Back Under.500 – Wrigley Field 4/11/11

Posted on 11 April 2011 by Lou

After a Friday night win, the Cubs had high hopes for a weekend series win over the Brewers at Miller Park.

But it wasn’t meant to be.  Matt Garza struggled for a 2nd straight start in Saturday’s 6-0 loss and Kerry Wood couldn’t hold the Cubs 5-4 lead with 2 outs in the 8th inning as the Cubs ended up losing 6-5.

Now it’s off to Houston to take on the Astros as Ryan Dempster looks to pick up his 1st win of the 2011 MLB schedule.

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Big Z, Baker & Bullpen Lead Cubs to 7-4 Win Over Brewers at Miller Park – Wrigley Field 4/9/11

Posted on 09 April 2011 by Lou

Carlos Zambrano didn’t have his best stuff, but he tossed 6 effective innings and matched a career-high with his 9th win in a row (dating back to last season).  Zambrano gave up 4 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks, with 5 K’s, but had a quick 1-2-3 6th inning to keep the lead at 6-4 after his 112th pitch of the game.  It was clear that he still had enough gas left in the tank and despite his less-than-stellar outing, he kept his wits about him and focused on getting through 6 innings to hand the ball off to the Cubs promising bullpen.

And boy did they do a great job.  Sean Marshall worked an 11-pitch 1-2-3 7th inning with 1 K – hold #2 on the season.  Kerry Wood worked a 9-pitch 1-2-3 8th inning – hold #3 on the season.  And while Carlos Marmol allowed 2 batters to reach base, he struck out 2 in the 9th inning to preserve the win and pick up his 3rd save.  Manager Mike Quade has gotta be pleased with this formula and as long as these guys stay healthy (Wood especially), there’s no reason to think that the Cubs shouldn’t feel comfortable with a late-inning lead.

The Cubs offense also pounded out 12 hits and 7 runs, lead by Jeff baker’s 4-hit game.  Baker hit a go-ahead 3-run HR in the 4th inning and the Cubs never looked back.  He had 4 RBI’s and 2 runs scored and is just crushing left-handed pitching.  Geovany Soto hit a 2-run HR that tied the game at 2 in the 4th inning, while Marlon Byrd and Alfonso Soriano each had 2 hits in the win.

Matt Garza takes the bump against Chris Narverson in Game 2 of the series at Miller Park tonight.  Let’s see if they can make it 2 in a row…

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Carlos Zambrano, Cubs Take on Brewers Tonight – Wrigley Field 4/8/11

Posted on 08 April 2011 by Lou

Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs will square off against Randy Wolf and the Milwaukee Brewers tonight at Miller Park in Milwaukee.  Something will have to give – the Brewers are riding a 3-game winning streak and Zambrano is riding a streak of winning his 7th straight decision at Miller Park.Big Z is 6-0 with a 1.97 ERA in his last 7 starts at the ballpark.  As a team, the Cubs have won 9 of their last 13 games against the Brewers in Milwaukee, including a 6-3 record against the Brewers in 2010.

Go Cubs!

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Day of Losses All Around – Dempster Falls to 0-2; Cashner & Wells to DL — Wrigley Field 4/7/11

Posted on 07 April 2011 by Lou

It was not a good day for the Cubs as Ryan Dempster fell to 0-2 as the Cubs lost to the DBacks 6-4.  Dempster gave up 5 runs (4 earned) on 10 hits over 7 innings pitched.  It was the most hits he had allowed in a game since 2008.  Dempster did strike out 8 DBacks hitters, but his ERA rose to 6.59 and his WHIP rose to 1.46.  Not good for your “ace” of the staff.

Aramis Ramirez hit his 1st home run of the season and has gotten off to a hot start – .333 batting average.  Alfonso Soriano hit his 3rd home run of the season, but they have all been solo shots and he is only hitting .273.  After a very slow start, Marlion Byrd had 2 hits in the loss and is now up over .300.  And Kosuke Fukudome had 2 hits and is hitting .357.  Now we just need the rest of the team to start swinging a good bat.

As for the other losses, they came off the field.  Randy Wells woke up with a strained forearm the day after his Monday start, but an MRI showed no structural damage.  Wells with not pick up a baseball for 2 weeks and should be able to pitch fairly soon after that assuming no further pain develops.  Wells was the Cubs most consistent pitcher all spring and he followed that up with a great first start – only 1 ER allowed over 6 innings pitched in the Cubs 4-1 win on Monday.

Andrew Cashner was having a similar great 1st start on Tuesday when he developed shoulder soreness in his throwing shoulder.  An MRI revealed that he has a mild strain of the back of the rotator cuff of his right arm.  Cashner will not do anything for two weeks too, but look for the Cubs to be even more careful with Cashner.  He has a powerful arm and is seen as a top major league starter for years to come.

Casey Coleman was called up from Triple-A Iowa and will start against the Brewers in Milwaukee on Sunday.  James Russell – who has pitched out of the bullpen thus far this season – could end up starting for the Cubs against the Astros in Houston next week.  We’ll keep you posted as soon as the Cubs decide exactly what to do with the 5th starter…

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